Power and other issues in minority language education in China

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Bai, a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Yunnan, is generally considered a highly siniticized minority language, although some argue that it could be a Sinitic language branching off millennia ago. As a minority nationality, the Bái enjoy the privilege of autonomous administration in Dàlǐ Prefecture, but education in Bai receives little attention, since Bái intellectuals have a long history of being literate in (Classical) Chinese. This chapter discusses difficulties in providing language education in Bai, pointing out that an established tradition of education in the minority language and supportive attitudes from the language community are decisive factors in promoting bilingual education in China. The struggle of the Bai case represents the general situation of minority language education in China as a whole.


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